The news publisher started using its DMP, Lotame, at the end of 2014. It first used the DMP to offer new line items for audiences in its responses to RFPs. But that approach didn’t work. Sales couldn’t find a way to communicate the value to clients.
“From an advertiser sophistication standpoint, it was going over their heads,” Whitmore said.
In 2016, it revamped its approach. The Daily News combined its DMP’s capabilities around improving campaign performance into a solution it could sell to advertisers: AdLift. When clients opted in – for no additional CPM cost – they would receive custom targeting from the outset, followed by optimizations focused on improving the campaign results that mattered to them.
“We set up a campaign using initial audience targeting based on what we believe will work for an advertiser’s goals,” Whitmore described. “Then we monitor the campaign and will ask if they are OK tuning the campaign based on the variables we see working better.”
Sometimes those audience segments can be counterintuitive – like a family sports restaurant that showed the highest performance around political content.
“It may not have been something they would have chosen to do, but we had high confidence it would perform,” Whitmore said.
Because of “edge cases” like this, the Daily News communicates openly about what kind of adjustments it makes. “We think it’s important that it doesn’t exist in a black box,” Whitmore said. Clients always have a choice to accept or reject recommendations.
The Daily News also focuses on optimizations that come from its own user data, instead of third-party data – though both can be used.
“We have a high degree of confidence in our own data, and our own data is what we use the most,” Whitmore said.
The ad operations team can look at what types of content drive the most performance, and what type of reading behaviors might align with an advertiser’s audience. It can also optimize campaigns to put ads in front of people who often click on them to see if that drives further performance.
AdLift does have limitations. The campaign must be big enough and last long enough to provide enough data to create an optimization recommendation. That’s actually helped the Daily News increase campaign size.
“We are able to get higher IO values and longer flight dates” because clients want to use the AdLift product, Whitmore said.